GE Hitachi submits SMR design for Canadian review

27 February 2020

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has made its first submittals to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for the vendor design review (VDR) of its BWRX-300 small modular reactor. The submittals are for the combined first two phases of the three-phase process and address eight of the 19 VDR focus areas.

(Image: GEH)

The VDR is an optional service provided by the CNSC to provide an assessment of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor's reactor technology. It is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant but aims to verify the acceptability of a design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations, providing early feedback during the design process.

Jon Ball, executive vice president of nuclear products for GEH, said there is considerable global interest in the BWRX-300 SMR and Canada is poised to play an important role in its deployment. "Continuing the pre-licensing process with the CNSC will move us closer to the commercialisation of this breakthrough technology," he said.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems. It leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH's ESBWR boiling water reactor, which has been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and is the tenth evolution of GE's first boiling water reactor design.

By leveraging the existing design certification of the ESBWR, using licensed and proven nuclear fuel design, incorporating proven components and supply chains and implementing simplification innovations, GEH said it believes the design can become cost-competitive with generation from combined cycle gas plants and renewable energy platforms. Design simplifications mean it is projected to require "significantly less capital cost per MWh" compared to other water-cooled SMR or existing large-scale nuclear reactor designs, the company said.

GEH in January officially began the US regulatory licensing process for the reactor with its first report submittal to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Czech utility ČEZ on examining the economic and technical feasibility of potentially constructing a BWRX-300 in the Czech Republic.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News